This website is dedicated to the female stars from the golden age of English Theatre. Some of the most beautiful women in England (and many from Europe and the USA) trod the boards of the many theatres to be found in London's West End in those halcyon days. Women like Gabrielle Ray, Lily Elsie, Pauline Chase, the sisters Dare, and of course my own particular favourites Gertie Millar and Ellaline Terriss. Whilst I do not deny in any way that there were many great male actors in that period also, nor would I wish to denigrate their acheivements, still you will not find them here. It is to the ladies and the ladies alone that this site is dedicated.
Many of these actresses* started from humble beginnings but were determined to make the most of their lives. Many would have long and successful stage careers. A few would become even more famous in celluloid than they ever had been on stage. Some would marry successful husbands, even into the nobility. And one, Mabel Russell, even became an MP - not particularly suprising today perhaps, but when she was at the height of her stage career women were not yet even allowed the vote!
Of course, since we are dealing with a period of around one hundred years ago, everything you will find on this site is the result of painstaking research rather than personal experience. I have tried as much as possible to ensure that my facts are accurate but it should be remembered that records from that time were not always entirely reliable (I have found some to be contradictory) and some of the information I have used is based on anecdotal evidence which may be dependent on human memory.
Ok, so why did I create this website? My interest in this subject arose when I purchased a contemporary portrait of a young Gladys Cooper (the stage star and film actress). The painting, I learned, was painted from an antique postcard. That led me to begin collecting postcards and my personal collection is the source of all the images you will see on these pages. Take a look at the photos in some of my galleries and I'm sure you will see why it is that I think the women of this period were so particularly beautiful.
*It seems to have become very much de riguer in the present day to use only the word 'actor' when referring to members of the histrionic profession regardless of gender, whilst use of the word 'actress' as a specific reference to a female member of that profession has become, at best, gauche. Since 'actress' was the absolute accepted term in the period to which this site is dedicated, however, for the sake of consistency (and intending no dis-respect to the present day ladies of the stage) I shall continue to use it here.
NB: The flags on my gallery pages indicate the country of birth and, if different, primary nationality of the person concerned. The flags shown are appropriate to the period and may differ substantially from the modern day flags of the nations in question.[*]